Dwayne Dunn wins the Toorak Handicap aboard He’s Our Rokki at Caulfield. Photo: Vince Caligiuri Just one race before delivering a group 1 for Hayes aboard He’s Our Rokki, Dwayne Dunn denies him another, winning the Caulfield Guineas aboard Divine Prophet ahead of Hayes’ fast-finishing Seaburge. Photo: Vince Caligiuri
It was a red-letter day at Caulfield for the Hayes family training partnership and top jockey Dwayne Dunn, who landed, respectively, a four-timer and a hat-trick.
Dunn scored his first ever group 1 double and the Hayes yard picked up a group 1 with perhaps Australia’s most improved galloper, He’s Our Rokki, who got through late under Dunn’s urgings to take out the Toorak Handicap.
It was particularly special for the trainer as it was the first group 1 winner that his son Ben, who has joined the Hayes/Tom Dabernig training partnership this season, has been involved in.
Dunn brought a touch of levity to proceedings, when he revealed after the race that the trainer had threatened to flatten him in the mounting yard before he went out to ride the heavily backed $2.50 favourite.
In the previous race, Dunn had denied Hayes the chance of another group 1 winner – and a fifth for the day – when he got home on Divine Prophet in the Caulfield Guineas, just staving off the late challenge of the Hayes-trained outsider Seaburge, who flashed home late for second place.
“It’s the first time I have ever had a group 1 double. It’s pretty enormous, it doesn’t happen every day. You are going on the favourite in that race, there’s a bit of pressure,” the jockey said.
“Hayes wanted to punch me up before that race. Then he said, ‘I will leave it until after this one until I see how you go’. Hopefully now he’s copped it on the chin and we have moved on,” the jockey joked.
Dunn – who also won the Thoroughbred Club Stakes aboard $9.50 chance Hear The Chant for the Hayes/Dabernig partnership – praised the way the Hayes stable had brought He’s Our Rokki patiently through his grades to the point where he could become a group 1 winner in one of the most famous races on the Australian calendar.
“He’s come from nowhere but placing him in the B Grade he’s got confidence. He’s done well and now he’s ready for the big league which he handled really well. Maybe this time next year they can look to stretch him towards the Cox Plate.”
Hayes said that it was easy to avoid the temptation of running in the Cox Plate this year given the awesome performance by Winx earlier in the day.
“We will play chicken and run for a million dollars the week after (in the newly named Longines Mile, formerly the Emirates). I saw enough of her today.
“I have got two horses in a normal year – him and Seaburge – who would have a crack at the Cox Plate, but this would be the year to watch it. With the great mare in great form its a mission impossible, its not a normal Cox Plate year, so I will be skirting the packs.”